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Buddhadharma : Summer 2012
SUMMER 2 0 1 2 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 39 PHOTO CARSTEN RANKE and takes on the external forms of the practice, there’s often a desire to conform to what they think a good monk looks like, and this can be reinforced by a community. So then a person becomes adjusted to the forms of the community rather than adjusted to their own development and to whatever is arising in the moment. There’s a kind of culture or cultish effect that has practitioners trying to imitate or belong or look good within a community. JOHN WELWOOD: That’s connected to the superego issue, which I call in this case the spiritual superego—the superego that can take on a spiritual tone and content. From the spiritual super- ego’s point of view, you can never practice well enough—you can never be devoted enough or compassionate enough, and so on. And one starts to try to live up to the dharma as though it were a set of prescriptions, and I have to say, that’s often how it’s taught. I’ve attended many teachings where truths are presented not as something to be explored, but rather as “here’s how you should be.” This feeds that superego and as a result people feel they’re bad if they don’t obey the doctrines of Buddhism and “do it right.” ANDREW HOLECEK: The fundamental problem is inappropriate relationship. There’s nothing problematic whatsoever with anything that arises in mind. This view is critically impor- tant and endemic in Buddhism. The foundational teachings